Interactive worksheets as a resource for teaching building performance and energy systems simulation
Keywords:Engineering education, blended learning, Jupyter Notebook, building performance simulation
This paper describes the development, implementation and evaluation of Jupyter Notebooks as a digital tool to promote (i) self-directed learning of theory concepts and (ii) active engagement with practical assignments in a graduate-level course on building performance and energy systems simulation. Jupyter Notebooks are gaining popularity as an educational tool for their ability to accommodate digital documents that weave together executable code, equations, data visualizations, and narrative text, without the need for dedicated software environments or advanced programming skills. Specifically, Jupyter Notebooks allow the user - in this case both the lecturer and the student - to bring together data, code, and prose, to tell an interactive, computational story. In our case, the Jupyter Notebooks are used as a teaching resource to foster individualized place and time-independent learning as part of a regular on-campus course, with particular emphasis on homologation of students with heterogeneous backgrounds and for proactive engagement with theoretical subjects. This paper follows the principles of ‘constructive alignment’ to highlight various aspects of the use of Jupyter Notebooks in this engineering education context. After a general discussion of the course set-up and key learning objectives, the implementation part of the paper showcases a number of concrete examples of the interactive worksheets on the subjects of thermal comfort assessment, building-integrated renewable energy systems and smart grid interaction. These example assignments illustrate a variety of tasks and functions, including dataset manipulation, scripting assignments, click-and-learn apps and explanatory video clips. An evaluation of the approach is presented on the basis of student questionnaires and informal evidence collected during two years of running the course. The paper finishes by providing a critical reflection of opportunities and caveats and suggested directions for further development.
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.